"Pushbutton yachting at its finest," said John with a smile. The skyline of Manhattan lay just ahead.
It was up the coast a ways, in the less renowned U.S. East Coast port of New Bedford, in Massachusetts, where Ted Fontaine started learning his ropes. His dad was a member of a local institution in the south end, the Low Tide Yacht Club, and at one point the family fleet included three Beetle Cats, a Rhodes 19, an Ensign, and a Laser. By his teens, young Ted, one of nine kids, had become especially proficient with that Laser, which he raced competitively both locally and nationally. Sailing was in his blood, a gift from his yachting father.
Decades later, after he'd become well-established as a successful naval architect, he lived for a while in the nearby coastal village of Padanaram, a section of South Dartmouth that was close to his childhood roots. On many mornings, he'd hop aboard his powerboat for an early session of fly-fishing in the nearby Elizabeth Islands, and on the way back home across Buzzards Bay, he always passed a weathered Friendship sloop-a classic Maine workboat, an unadorned throwback to a bygone era.